Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Today I asked a friend I had not seen since May, "So, how was your summer?"
And she replied, "Oh, is summer over?"
It is difficult to tell down here in the land of endless summer weather...but school has begun in most places-for friends and family, not me, of course, and it was a little cooler here yesterday morning, and the snowbirds have begun returning, so I would say, "yes, summer is done."
We had a great summer. It really did go by quickly. In honor of all those students who have probably been asked to write an essay, here is my photo journal of "What I Did on my Vacation."

In June, we took a road trip north. First stop, Chattanooga, TN. Not far from our hotel was Ruby Falls. (Those AAA guide books are really handy!)

After taking an elevator deep underground we walked about a mile in a cavern to see the tallest underground waterfall.
Next stop was Bardstown, KY, the Bourbon capital of the world. We stayed two nights, touring two distilleries with tastings, yum, and I bought a cookbook of recipes using Bourbon. I wanted to do all 7 distilleries on the "Bourbon Trail" but not enough time. Maybe we will return sometime and I will get the tee shirt for completing the whole trail!
(This is the world's largest barrel, according to the sign.)
This is the antebellum plantation house where "My Old Kentucky Home" was said to have been composed by Stephen Foster. We toured it inside. Beautiful and huge!
After leaving KY, we drove to Iowa to spend a few days while visiting son #2.
We found a small hiking trail along the Des Moines River.

Then we drove north to visit dear friends in Minnesota. We played Euchre, Quirkle, had a movie night, visited an historical village and history museums, and drove with them to South Dakota where we visited a zoo and an art museum.

at the zoo

DH said we could stop and see the largest ball of twine. Who knew, it was just down the road in Darwin, MN! There is a little museum beside the gazebo sheltering the big ball of twine.

Here we are saying goodbye. That's Joel and Julie's church, Zion Lutheran, in the background. What a great visit that was!
As we were driving the highway, DH saw a sign that said "Iowa's largest skillet" and took the exit. What a guy!
We drove to Pennsylvania, staying with the in-laws for a week, visiting family, then went to Virginia Beach to see my sister's family and some of our friends. We only had a 3 nights, so, sadly, not enough time to see all we left behind.
Last stop north of Savannah, GA. This big rocker was outside the restaurant, so we had to take a picture, of course!

It was a great three weeks, 13 states, and 4000 miles!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Big Reveal

We pretty much are finished with our kitchen remodel. All the inspections have been done, but we need to get two glass door fronts installed and hinges replaced on 2 cabinet doors. (One closes too fast and the other too slow. They are soft-close doors, a really nice feature.) I love the kitchen and actually enjoy washing dishes in the sink, you know, so it stays looking nice and clean. We used the dishwasher of course when we had guests for dinner. Boy is it quiet! All the appliances are whirlpool. (So nice to be able to bake and not have stuff too browned.) The granite is New Venetian Gold and the maple cabinets are from Debut Cabinetry in toast finish.

Above you can see the glass doors on the cabinet over the frig where I have my cookie jars displayed. I also have 3 more in the corner cabinet. The teapot, teacup, and creamer collections are in that corner cabinet as well. Below is the corner unit with the lazy Susan that holds my pots and pans and left of that a pullout with 4 shelves that holds small boxes of stuff like rice, pudding, and drink mixes.

 This is taken from my living room. I am so glad Tim took the wall down separating the 2 areas when we first bought the house. The drawers to the left of the dishwasher hold in the top drawer my tableware (forks, knives, spoons, and serving pieces), middle drawer my dishes and bowls, and in the bottom drawer are mixing bowls and baking glassware. These drawers are about  24 inches wide. The ones in the cabinet on the side (the coffee bar) are about 26 inches wide.

This is what I see when standing by the back porch door. I wanted you to see the corner cabinet. The shelves are little triangles that I put some of my McCoy pieces on. The sugar bowl from our first set of dishes (from Sears) is on the top shelf.

 This is the added cabinet where there was none before. I love the three drawers(2 deep) for my table linens and plastic storage pieces. Cabinet below also holds wine and liquor bottles and small appliances (the toaster, hand mixer, 2 crockpots, electric skillet,and waffle iron). The other corner base cabinet on the left has my blenders in it. So nice to have everything together in one place!

We still have to remove the fan and the 2 ceiling lights. That "sky tube" provides lots of daytime light and at night the under cabinet lights are lovely. I am thinking 2 pendant lights over the coffee bar like the one over the sink and something to match over the table. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

In the meantime...

My grand nephew Toby has a school project to send a paper doll fashioned after the character "Flat Stanley" out of state(he lives in Pennsylvania) to see where he gets to. The recipients are asked to send back pictures of Stanley enjoying the visit doing something that represents the state. So what better place to bring him in Florida than Disneyworld!

 Here he is in the Magic Kingdom with Main Street and Cinderella's Castle in the background.

 Then we rode on the paddle boat. That is the Haunted Mansion in the background.      
Finally we went to Epcot where they are having a flower festival. Can you see Stanley in the among the flowers? It was a beautiful day. My friend Darlene also went with us, which was great because she is better to talk to than Stanley.

Stanley is being sent next to visit the kids in Portland, Oregon and then on to Hawaii before returning to Toby in PA. Wish I could go with him!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cabinets are up!

Just missing one handle-oops Betty didn't check her notes first

Base cabinet along once bare wall

left of the sink
These are not the best photos-taken at night, tired shaky hand-but I wanted to get them posted. We need to order another handle. Can you see where we are short one? My mistake telling the cabinet guy that two go on each of those big drawers when I originally thought the top one would have only one and ordered accordingly. I like it better this way, however. We are waiting for the glass to go in the upper corner cabinets and the two doors over the frig, as well as the light rail that will be installed along the bottom of the cabinets after the granite backsplash goes up. I really like how they look.

Week One Done

Here are pictures of our kitchen remodel from the first week.

Monday the cabinets were torn down and along with the old appliances carried off. Then the plumber came in and moved the pipes so they would be BEHIND the cabinets instead of inside the cabinets as they were before. He also put in a new line to the refrigerator, so now we can turn off the water to the frig and still have water in the sink. Couldn't do that before either.

Tuesday and Thursday the electrician came in and put in all new wires to the kitchen along with more outlets-both because of new code requirements since the house was built in 1965. He also installed the wiring for the puck lights that will be under the cabinets.

Day 1: cabinets are torn out and plumbing is completed.

Day 2 and 3 electrician replaces old wiring and adds new outlets.

After inspection, drywall is repaired sink side above, bare wall below.

Tim painted everywhere, even in places that won't show.
Wednesday the cabinets are being put up...to be continued!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


We are finally starting the remodel in the kitchen. We have hired a professional ktichen crew to do the work. I took before pictures after we had finished taking down all the decorations and emptying the cabinets. When I showed them to son #1, he commented on how nice they looked. Yes, they are in good condition for almost 50 years old. But, as they say on all those HGTV shows, they are in need of serious updating.

So we are taking down the soffit and have cabinets that go all the way up, with crown molding along the ceiling. We are adding a base cabinet on the bare wall and moving the frig to the right side of the range. We will have all new appliances and granite counter tops.
       How blessed we are that we can afford to do this.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Just too nice in Florida to be stressed...

My health insurance has started a new routine of offering a fairly good discount off the yearly premium if I either stay in really good shape(low BMI, low cholesterol, low blood pressure etc), or if necessary I am willing to follow the advice of a health coach provided no charge by the company the city has partnered with. Last May, while I was in Virginia Beach, I went for the screening. This was after traveling for awhile between FL and VA, and not attending zumba for months and not watching what I was eating(except to look at it as it was going towards my  mouth to make sure I didn't miss!)...so no surprise when my BMI was too high, but somewhat surprised when my cholesterol was borderline high. So that meant starting in January, I had to hook up by phone with the "health coach" every three months.

By the time of our first phone call, I was back in zumba and  cutting way back on carbs, so I was already following a plan and losing weight. No problem she said, just fill out the online questionnaire about your health and we will talk again in April. The questions had to do with weight management and stress. Today was the day of the phone call.

Health Coach: so I see on a scale of 1-10 you have rated your stress level a 2. That's pretty low.
Me: I am retired and I live in Florida, other than a kitchen remodel going on now (hammering in background), not much to be stressed over.
HC: Wow, I can hear birds singing in the background.
Me: Yes, I am sitting on my  back porch while we chat.
HC: You're sitting outside?
Me: It is a lovely sunshiney day...like I said, no worries, I'm happy.

Easter Sunday we celebrated Jesus Christ's resurrection and we sang:
“He lives to silence all my fears; He lives to wipe away my 
tears.  He lives to calm my troubled heart; He lives all blessings to impart (CW 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Speed Limits

I lived more than half my life, almost all my adult years, in Tidewater, Virginia with half a million other people. Some days, watching the traffic report, it seemed like they were all out in cars, in a hurry to get somewhere. Speed limits there were treated more like suggestions for a good place to start. Going the posted speed usually meant someone was on your tail, anxious to pass you at the first opportunity. On the interstate driving the limit of 55 felt dangerous, because it caused others to follow too closely or pass too abruptly, like they were suddenly surprised that someone would be actually following the speed limit.

Now I live in Florida where the interstate has a speed limit of 70. Tourists and others using the highway do not seem to have a problem going fast. I live in a community surrounded by farming. Most roads are posted at 45-55 which means traffic goes 50-60. That is until you reach the part of the road that passes by my 55+ community. That's age. not speed limit. Here there are signs warning of golf cart crossings for about 1 1/2 miles. They can be translated, "Watch out for old people!" who see the posted speed of 45 as just that-a limit-and may choose to go 30-35 because that's what they are comfortable doing. Even worse I have seen some in a golf cart travelling on the state road which is not legal and with capable top speeds around 25, very dangerous. Crossing the road at 3 designated spots is all that is allowed.

Within my community the speed limit is 30, more than the 25 I am used to for residential areas. Here the old people become speed demons, passing me if I am doing 25. I had an older golf cart that would average 12 mph on a full charge. After being passed so often by other golf carts, the old cart wouldn't turn over one day, and DSH decided we could get a brand spanking new one. This one will actually go 19 mph. I feel like I am really flying when I am in it. Until today when some old guy in a hurry passed me in his golf cart. Oh, well!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Taking Control

It has been awhile since I have written my thoughts here. This was supposed to be a place to share my thoughts on a daily or at least weekly posting schedule...I have really gotten off track because, as you can see,  it has been over a month. I have heard from a few people that they have read this blog, so to them I say, "don't leave me yet" but I still think this is mostly written for my own satisfaction. Really who do we need to satisfy besides ourselves? Well, I like to keep my DSH happy because he loves me and wants the best for me. And I am sure kids #1-4 want the best for me, too. But what I really should be focusing on is what makes my Lord, God happy because, after all, he loves me more than anyone here on earth and ultimately knows what is best for me. When I searched the Bible for the keyword "self-control" 13 results came up, all pretty much saying the same thing: God likes me to keep it, Satan loves it when I don't.

This past month I have had days when I felt like I was not in control and I felt stressed out and uncomfortable. One of the toughest times was trying to decide on the extent of our kitchen make over: style of cabinets, choices for counter tops, appliances, which company to do the work...I spent hours researching online, reading design books, talking to friends. I would dream about my choices and wake up to second guesses. This is the kitchen I will live with the rest of my life, I figure, and I want to be happy in the end with what I get.  I cannot say that the cost didn't figure in as part of the stress as well. As final plans were made, I felt relief. Of course, the demo hasn't even  started yet, and the disruption to daily living while it all is being completed is supposed to take three weeks, but I have decided to not let it stress me.

As of Feb. 9, I am attending Weight Watchers meetings again because, since retirement, I have gained 20 pounds. Yeah life here is good...a little too good. Actually, I do get more time for exercise now, but I also have more time to graze in the kitchen, too. One thing about teaching all day-can't eat except at designated times. And I do think my problem is mindless eating. Eating for something to do, not because I need nourishment. So that is another piece of my life where I need to be in control. It is easy to blame others for my over eating, but ultimately the choice to eat something is mine.

Which brings me back to pleasing God. He wants me to stay connected to Him through His word. So when I feel like I am stressing out or losing control, I will pick up my Bible or a devotional book and find strength there.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

My life as a poem

In my favorite place
enjoying the sun streaming in,
a light breeze,
a good book,
hearing wind chimes softly ringing
birds sing in the distance.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Rough Road Ahead?

I opened the living room curtain the other day and saw this sign in the road in front of my house. You can see they are doing much needed roadwork on my street, but I kept thinking, "Isn't this true of life?" I must say that right now living in Florida with beautiful weather(temps in the 70-80s) DSH and I are really blessed. We have very few wants or needs that we are able to get without much hardship. I think of the people still recovering from hurricane Sandy, the families in CT still mourning, and the many who are suffering illness, and I see how blessed we are to not be among them.

It is a New Year with resolutions hoping to make it a better year. With me it is always my weight. I see this sign as a reminder that it is not going to be easy, but I must take that road to better eating habits if I am going to lose the extra pounds that I carry.

Also as a Christian waiting for Jesus to return I know sometimes there will rough road ahead. 1Cor 16:13 says "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong."

But right now, I am going to enjoy the lovely day, go to the pool to exercise, clean up  my stamp room, read, maybe go out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants.

"This is the day the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24